Winter Cupcakes

So much has happened since my last post. First, I ran the New York marathon back in November! Second, I published my third book, THE MASTERMINDS. And third, I am almost done writing my fourth book, ROSE PETAL GRAVES. Amidst all the chaos of running and raising three kids and writing four books, I haven’t had much time to put together these yummy posts, but I never stopped baking, nor did I stop taking pictures of all my confections. So I have tons of new recipe ideas on queue for SisterBakers for the New Year.

 

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Let’s begin with these Winter Cupcakes. The chocolate crackle cake base is probably my new favorite chocolate cake in the entire world. I am not exaggerating. It’s light and fluffy and melts in your mouth. And the maple syrup addition to the frosting gives it a little kick that will remind you of a snowy morning with a steaming plate of pancakes.

Just ask little Estée who swiped a handful as I was snapping the pictures.

 

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Chocolate Crackle Cake

250g butter

125 g semisweet chocolate, chopped

200g sugar

175 g flour

4 eggs

½ tsp salt

1 tsp of vanilla extract or 1 packet of vanilla sugar

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C and line a muffin tin with wrappers.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter with the chocolate.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk the sugar with the eggs and the vanilla extract.
  4. With your mixer on low, pour the melted chocolate mixture over the eggs.
  5. Add the flour and salt.
  6. Spoon the batter into the wrappers until ¾ full, then bake for 15 to 20 minutes until tops are crackled and a toothpick comes out almost clean.

 

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Maple Syrup Frosting

250 g (1 cup) of butter, room temperature

3 ½ cups of icing sugar

1/3 cup milk

½ tbsp maple syrup

¼ tsp salt

A few drops of red food gel

 

  1. Whisk the butter with the icing sugar until pale and creamy.
  2. Add the milk and maple syrup. Whisk on low until incorporated, then turn your mixer to high and whip for 5 minutes until frosting has aired out.
  3. Add the food gel and mix until color is even.
  4. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

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Scary good!

Faerie Cupcakes

This is my Twitter account:

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Why am I sharing it? Read my mini bio.

So what’s the connection between cupcakes and writing?

  • Sugar fuels the brain, thus the imagination, thus I need to eat to write.
  • I’m the creator of both.
  • Cupcakes, like champagne, are extremely festive. Thus there is no better way (besides sipping bubbly) to welcome a new book into the world than with cupcakes.

I think I have supplied 3 solid reasons that tie my passion for writing to my love of pretty confections.

 

To celebrate the launch of my faerie novella, Rose Petal Graves, which has been included alongside some best-selling novellas in this amazing and magical boxset, I baked faerie cupcakes.

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And now for the recipe:

½ cup sifted forest earth

1 cup pure rain water

¼ cup magical lilies

A heaping tablespoon of pixie dust

Some sparkles to decorate

 

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If you can’t find those ingredients, use the following, human ones:

 

Makes 12

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Cupcake Batter

175 g unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

¾ cup sour cream

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tbsp cornstarch

1 ½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp kosher salt

 

  1. Line a cupcake pan with liners of your choice and preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar.
  3. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and sour cream, mix until just incorporated.
  4. In another bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Pour into wet ingredients and whisk until well mixed.
  5. Spoon your dough into prepared wrappers.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let cool before frosting.

 

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Rainbow Swirl Buttercream Frosting

150g butter, at room temperature

3 cups icing sugar

3 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 scraped vanilla bean

 

Orange coloring paste

Purple coloring paste

Red coloring paste

 

Edible sprinkles of your choice (I used Sweetapolita’s)

 

  1. Prepare 1 big piping bag with the nozzle of your choice. Also, set aside 3 piping bags without nozzles, but clipped at the tip a half inch (to let the frosting through).
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the butter with the sugar on high speed until white and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
  3. Add the milk and vanilla, and mix 1 more minute.
  4. Separate frosting into 3 equal batches and mix each batch with a single gel paste.
  5. Pour each colored frosting into one of the piping bags. Place all 3 piping bags into the larger piping bag fitted with the nozzle.
  6. Frost cooled cupcakes., then sprinkle them with edible decorations.

 

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Christmas Tree Cupcakes

 

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Who doesn’t love Christmas trees? They smell heavenly, shine at night, and add dabs of glistening color to any space. Imagine how awesome they become when turned edible. ;P

I made mine out of chocolate, vanilla, and edible sprinkles, courtesy of Sweetapolita.

 

Happy Holidays, everyone!

 

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Makes 24 mini or 12 normal

 

Chocolate Batter

1 cup sugar

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup boiling water

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 cup milk

2 cups flour

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C and line a cupcake pan with liners of your choice.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with the boiling water.
  3. Add in the oil and mix well.
  4. Beat in the eggs and the milk.
  5. Whisk in the flour until your batter is smooth.
  6. Divide amongst liners and bake for 8-10 min for minis, and 15-18 min for medium sized cupcakes.

 

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Vanilla Frosting

1 cup butter, at room temperature

3 ½ cups icing sugar

¼ cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 scraped vanilla bean

¼ tsp salt

A few drops of green food coloring

 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the butter with the sugar on high speed until white and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
  2. Add the milk, vanilla, salt, and food coloring, and mix 1 more minute.
  3. Frost cooled cupcakes like trees making a plus sign, then an x on top of that, then one last cross. Decorate with edible sprinkles.

 

Copycat Sprinkles Cupcakes

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Eight days ago, on November 17th, my daughter, Estée Grace was born. We’d kept the baby’s gender a surprise, and let me tell you, we were surprised! We all thought it was going to be a boy! When we told Adam and Gabi they’d gotten a little sister, their reaction was, “Where is our baby brother?” The following morning though, when they laid eyes on baby Estée, they both fell in love with her.

 

To celebrate her arrival into our world, I baked some cupcakes. As usual I tweaked the original recipe: I reduced the sugar, replaced half the cream by some milk and used egg whites instead of yolks. They will cook up white—totally normal—and delicious—to be expected!

 

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Makes 16

 

Vanilla Batter

170 g unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 egg whites

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod, scraped

½ cup sour cream

½ cup milk

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp kosher salt

 

  1. Line a cupcake pan with liners of your choice and preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar.
  3. Add the egg whites and vanilla and mix until just incorporated.
  4. Pour in the sour cream and milk and mix some more.
  5. In another bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Pour into wet ingredients and whisk until well mixed.
  6. With an ice cream scooper, spoon your dough into prepared wrappers.
  7. Bake for 18 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. They will not be golden.
  8. Let cool before frosting.

 

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Vanilla Frosting

½ cup butter, at room temperature

1 ¾ cups icing sugar

2 tbsp whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 scraped vanilla bean

¼ tsp salt

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the butter with the sugar on high speed until white and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
  2. Add the cream, vanilla, and salt and mix 1 more minute.
  3. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

 

 

 

Babyshower Cupcakes

Tonight is my sister-in-law and my baby shower. We’re expecting 2 weeks apart!

I’m celebrating it by baking…drumroll…cupcakes. Since I’m not sure if I’m having a boy or a girl, but she’s having a boy, I thought that turquoise would be the appropriate shade for our little bash.

 

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So last night, with store-bought fondant which I colored turquoise, I made tiny sugar duckies to top my cupcakes. It was somewhat of a tedious operation—although not much different than shaping playdough, it took a long time—but the result is just too cute.

 

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Ironically enough, the only other time I’d used fondant was for my daughter’s baby shower cupcakes. I’d made tiny roses.

 

For 48 mini cupcakes

 

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Vanilla Mascarpone Batter

170 g unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 egg whites

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod, scraped

½ cup mascarpone

½ cup part skim milk

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp kosher salt

 

  1. Line a mini cupcake pan with liners of your choice and preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar.
  3. Add the egg whites and vanilla and mix until just incorporated.
  4. Pour in the sour cream and milk and mix some more.
  5. In another bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Pour into wet ingredients and whisk until well mixed.
  6. With an ice cream scooper, spoon your dough into prepared wrappers.
  7. Bake for 13 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. They will not be golden.
  8. Let cool before frosting.

 

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Swiss Meringue Buttercream

2 egg whites

½ cup sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 tbsp vanilla extract

½ cup butter, room temperature

 

  1. Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in a large glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until sugar has dissolved (approximately 5 min). The mixture should feel warm and smooth when rubbed between your fingertips, and have whitened.
  2. Pour your mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer and beat on high speed until mixture fluffs up like meringue (approximately 2-3 minutes). Add the vanilla and beat until mixed in.
  3. Add the butter and whisk on medium-high speed. If your mixture curdles, it is OKAY. Keep on beating on medium-high speed until frosting comes together.
  4. With a metal spatula, spread frosting over the top of the cooled cupcakes, then add your decorations.

 

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Hot Chocolate Glazed Cupcakes

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My son’s school requires a parent to cater snack for an entire week for an entire class twice a year. Might sound laborious when you have 25 little mouths to feed, but at least, you’re making sure the children get top-notch snacks.

Along with fruits and veggies, I try to bring a little extra (healthy) sweetness to their mornings. One morning it was oatmeal raisin cookies, one morning mini-croissants, and one, cupcakes (of course!). On Adam’s instructions, they were chocolate. His words upon taste-testing them: “They taste like hot chocolate, Mom.”

And they did!

 

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Makes 12-16 cupcakes

 

Chocolate Batter

1 cup sugar

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup boiling water

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

½ cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

¼ cup heavy cream

¾ cup milk

2 cups flour

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C and line a cupcake pan with liners of your choice.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with the boiling water.
  3. Add in the oil and mix well.
  4. Beat in the eggs, the milk, and the cream.
  5. Whisk in the flour until your batter is smooth.
  6. Divide batter between prepared liners and bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

 

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Chocolate Glaze 

2 tbsp butter

¼ tsp salt

2/3 cup powdered sugar

30 g unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ cup boiling water

 

  1. Melt the butter in the microwave. Mix in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
  2. Add the salt and water and whisk until glossy.
  3. Dip cooled cupcakes into glaze.
  4. Decorate with sprinkles if desired.
  5. The glaze will harden slightly as it cools, but it won’t become solid.

Coconutella Cupcakes

Two day ago, my daughter Gabrielle turned 3. When my son turned 3, I remember thinking, “Whew, finally.” This time, my reaction was, “Whoa, already?”

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Time is flying by. I remember my mother telling me it would happen when I was kid. I remember thinking, yeah, right, I’ll be stuck in school forever. Not only has it been more than ten years that I’ve graduated high school, it’s been ten years since I graduated college.

 

Which made me realize what the perfect gift for both my kids are: to make each and every minute of their lives count.

 

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Makes 24 large cupcakes

 

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Coconut Base

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 ¼ cup sugar

3 eggs

½ tsp salt

1 tbsp vanilla extract

¾ cup coconut flakes

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup coconut milk

½ cup light cream

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C and line 2 cupcakes pan with the liners of your choice.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and salt and whisk until incorporated.
  4. Pour in the cream, then half the flour. Mix. Pour in the coconut milk, the baking powder, and the rest of the flour. Whisk again until mixture is homogenous.
  5. Fold in the coconut flakes and divide evenly into cupcake liners.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 

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Nutella Frosting

1 cup butter, at room temperature

¾ cup Nutella

2 cups powdered sugar

¼ cup whipping cream

 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the butter and the sugar until pale and very fluffy (about 2-3 minutes on high speed).
  2. Add the Nutella and the cream, and whip another 2 minutes.
  3. Frost the cooled cupcakes.

 

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Banana Cupcakes with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream

Before making cupcakes, I had never eaten a store-bought one. Weird, I know. I’m like that. I tried my first doughnut at fifteen, but beef marrow, I tasted at five. Anyway, I come from a family who eats mostly home-baked, home-cooked food—which appears to have become the new trend nowadays. Between documentaries about processed foods and new articles about diseases that come from consuming those foods, I thank my parents for the good habits they gave me.

Now a mother, I will try to give my children the best food education I can without making them complete social pariahs. And since I LOVE baking and cooking, that comes easily to me.

 

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Recently, there was a wave of baby-showers around me filled with cupcakes. I came to one very major conclusion after sampling all those sweet treats: most cupcakes are way too dense and way too sweet. I came home and made these, sweetened with banana, moist and yet fluffy, with a frosting as light as air.

Cupcakes are so easy to make! Really. Bake them before you buy them! At least, try.

 

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Makes 24 mini cupcakes or 12 cupcakes

 

Banana Cupcake Batter

1 and 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup (125 g) unsalted butter, melted

2 egg whites

1/4 cup sour cream

3/4 cup 2% milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ripe banana, peeled and chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C. Line a cupcake pan with wrappers.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a big bowl.
  3. In the bowl of a standmixer, whip melted butter with the sugar until light and creamy. Add the egg whites and the sour cream.
  4. Pour in the milk and vanilla.
  5. Whisk in the dry ingrdients.
  6. Add the banana and beat until batter is smooth.
  7. Bake for approximately 18 minutes for large cupcakes or 9-10 minutes for mini ones.
  8. Let cool before frosting.

 

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Whipped Vanilla Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp salt

1-2 drops of food coloring (optional)

  1. In the bowl of a standmixer, whip the butter with the sugar on high med-high speed for 3 minutes or until the frosting has whitened and sort of doubled in volume.
  2. Add the cream, vanilla and salt and beat for another minute.
  3. At this point, add the food coloring if you want.
  4. Place in a piping bag and decorate cooled cupcakes.

 

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No-Oreo Cupcakes

I’ve just watched the documentary Fed Up, which is about the industry of sugar in the US. If you haven’t seen it, it’s fantastic. Aside from the major obesity issue and the devastating rise in diabetes and heart attacks amongst our youth, the main lesson I learned was that desserts are okay, as long as you control the ingredients, i.e. you make them at home.

These cupcakes taste like the Oreos my kids adored (past tense since I’m not buying them anymore) without the synthetic ingredients that make them up. The cake part is divine, light and fluffy. Best cocoa cake in the world. If you want a more pronounced flavor, I suggest adding some chocolate chips.

 

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If you don’t know this about me already, I cut the sugar in all my recipes (no exception). Most of the time, I halve the amount and really, it’s never missing. I’ve always done it— since I made my first cake at the ripe old age of seven. Considering sugar is an addiction, if you don’t find it sweet enough at first, you will once your taste buds have adapted and they will adapt; and then you’ll find most desserts overwhelmingly sweet.

 

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For 12 cupcakes

 

Cocoa Cupcakes

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¾ cup flour

½ tsp baking soda

¾ tsp baking powder

1/3 cup vegetable oil

½ cup brown sugar

1 egg

½ cup milk

¼ tsp salt

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C and line a cupcake baking tray with pretty liners.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the egg with the sugar and salt until light and creamy.
  3. Pour in the oil and the milk and mix.
  4. Add all the dry ingredients to the batter and beat on low until mixture is smooth.
  5. With an ice cream scooper, divide the batter evenly into the liners (they will be about 2/3rds full).
  6. Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes or until puffed up and a cake tester comes out clean.
  7. Let cool before frosting.

 

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Vanilla Frosting

½ cup butter, room temperature

2 cups icing sugar

¼ cup whipping cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp salt

Sprinkles of your choice (optional)

 

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the butter and icing sugar on low speed until incorporated. Then increase the speed to high and mix until light and fluffy (approx. 2 minutes).
  2. Add the cream, vanilla, and salt, and beat on high speed until very white (another minute).
  3. Pour frosting into a piping bag fitted with the nozzle of your choice and pipe out onto the cooled cupcakes.
  4. Sprinkle with the edible decorations of your choice.

 

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Carrot Cupcakes with Whipped Maple Frosting

Tonight is Drunken Bookclub night (YAY!). It’s also several of our members’ birthdays. It goes without saying that cupcakes are needed. Since the book was Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven, which takes place in an amusement park, I tried to think of an all-American dessert that didn’t require building a Ferris wheel out of sugar paste (not one of my talents).

 

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Carrot cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting it is!

 

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Makes 20 large cupcakes

 

Fluffy Carrot Batter

2 ½ cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp of cornstarch

½ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup whipping cream

¼ cup milk

1 ½ cups brown sugar

4 eggs

3 large carrots, peeled and finely shredded (makes approximately 2 cups)

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C and line two cupcake pans with paper liners of your choice.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the flour, salt, spices, baking soda, and baking powder.
  3. Add the brown sugar and the eggs and whisk until well combined.
  4. Pour in the milk, oil and cream and beat until mixture is homogenous.
  5. Fold in the shredded carrots.
  6. Fill liners ¾ full and bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pan once in the middle of baking time for even baking.
  7. Let cool before frosting.

 

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Whipped Maple Frosting

200 g cream cheese, room temperature

½ cup (125g) butter, room temperature

3 cups icing sugar

1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp maple syrup

 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip all ingredients on high speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  2. Place in a piping bag fitted with the nozzle of your choice, and pipe out on cooled cupcakes.

 

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Really, really yummy!

 

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